October came with more than just the changing of leaves, but the changing of places too. My NCCC team, Delta 4, went from Brandenburg, Kentucky to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to now current but not final location: New Bern, North Carolina. The quick changing of pace and sceneries is the nature of NCCC and although I’m often unsure of what day it is, I still have been loving the work and the people I am able to interact with.
To start with the beginning weeks of October, Delta 4 was wrapping up final tasks and achievements with their time in Brandenburg, KY—also known as round one. The 2 months spent at Camp Piomingo (YMCA residential summer camp) was a great way to start off as a newly trained team. We began to understand our team as a unit and how we all work as individuals. The camp itself is in the middle of nowhere which translates to no cell phone service. With limited screen entertainment we would use our face-to-face communication frequently. Because of this we took it as a valuable opportunity for us all to get to know who Delta 4 was going to be.
Packed bags and a 10 hour drive, my team and I arrived back on to the Southern Region Campus in Vicksburg, MS. There for only a week of transition, and it was a week full of catch-ups with other teams, debriefing past project and briefing on future projects. And with a blink of an eye…..unpacked to packed again, the bags were stacked in the cargo van which trailed behind our 15p (15 passenger van). This time we were headed to New Bern, NC for mission assignment disaster relief due to the effects left by Hurricane Florence in September. We were assigned to rehabilitating a building for a future “volunteer village” as well as mucking and gutting homes in the community with Fuller House Rebuilders Inc. and AmeriCorps Disaster Relief Team (ADRT).
Mucking is the removal of insulation and other semi-solid material due to the water inundation, and gutting is the tearing out and removing construction material (sheetrock, baseboard, carpet, etc.) damaged by water.
Although the long work days and unpleasant nature of mucking and gutting can be challenging, tedious, and sometimes claustrophobic (due to being suited up in the tyvek, respirator mask, two sets of gloves, helmet, and goggles for up to 9 hours) what really made it all more motivating for me to be there was the continual gratitude and kindness from the community and seeing the relief on every homeowner’s face with a gutted home— another step forward to reaching normalcy after Hurricane Florence.